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USDA-ARS Research Fellowship in Poultry Vaccine Development

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis.

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Beltsville Agricultural Research Center located in Beltsville, Maryland.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research ProjectWith the voluntary reduction or withdrawal of antibiotic growth promoters from the feed, Clostridium perfringens-caused necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens becomes increasingly important to the poultry industry. Vaccines to reduce this disease occurrence in U.S. poultry are urgently needed. The selected research participant will help develop recombinant vaccines. These vaccines allow the targeting of multiple specific virulence factors associated with Clostridium perfringens. Under guidance from the mentor, the participant will also assist in vaccine testing in animal studies, antibody and cytokines determinations, and metagenomic and metatranscriptomics studies in chickens. Additional research opportunities include immunoreagent development.  

Learning ObjectivesAs a result of this training, the participant will improve their skills in learning cutting-edge recombinant probiotic-vectored vaccine technology, immunoassay development, molecular biology, and be exposed to additional research at the USDA-ARS facility. In addition, the participant may have the opportunity to attend scientific conferences.

Mentor(s)The mentors for this opportunity is Charles Li ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 2, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a stipend in addition to their own external funding. The current monthly stipend for this opportunity is $1,666.67.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process, please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.



The qualified candidate must have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. 

Preferred experience:

  • Experience in basic bacteriology, immunology, and molecular biology, including isolation and cultivation of bacteria, PCR assay development, recombinant DNA and bacterial methodology, protein expression, mRNA expression, cell culture, in-vitro and in-vivo immune assays, ELISA, and basic laboratory skills.
  • Fluent technical writing in English for peer-reviewed publications.
  • Comfortability with animal work, specifically with poultry.
  • Ability to work independently to advance project goals and participate in the preparation of presentations and publications.
  • BSL-2 experience, particularly experience with Clostridium, Bacillus or similar bacterial pathogens.
  • Animal handling skills, such as inoculation, challenge studies, blood draws, and necropsy.
  • Funding: The participant should already have secure grant funding and eligible to receive an additional stipend.